Orracle Analytics

paying the iron price

Face it, the majority of people don’t want new.

They might want newest (the newest car, the newest computer, the newest gadget), but not new.

New, by it’s nature, is unnatural.

Which means the entrepreneur has a problem.

Entrepreneurs are idea insurgents; they bring new to the table (and disrupt everything else in the process – including our comfort levels).

That’s why it’s so hard for the entrepreneur to sell a new product, or break into a new market, or build a reputation quickly…

Because the majority of people distrust new.

But they trust the opinion of others.

Which means the only way for the entrepreneur to survive is to gain a foothold within a niche, allow the product or service the chance to over deliver, and then hope this group of early adopters can influence the masses.

In other words, the entrepreneur must start by building trust on the fringe.

This isn’t a new concept – it’s been explored in depth by people like Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, Seth Godin in Unleashing the Idea Virus, and hundreds of other authors, artists and entrepreneurs who have dissected and analyzed the topic over the last decade.

So while the concept isn’t new, it is urgent.

The noisy internet is getting noisier.  Busy customers are getting busier.  And every day that goes by is one day less you could be building trust on the fringe.

In Game of Thrones, the northern island tribes live by a principle of “paying the iron price.”

It means they don’t pay for ships, cities or positions of power with gold.  If they want something, they take it by conquering it.  They don’t pay the gold price, they pay the iron price.

As an entrepreneur, you have to pay the iron price too.

You can’t use money to pay for trust, attention, or respect  – you have to earn it.

No amount of money spent on advertising will do your job for you, nor can you outsource the hard decisions.

Your job is to do the hard, creative work only you’re capable of, to gain a foothold in a niche, and to give your product or service the opportunity to over-deliver.

This means building trust, one day at a time, one interaction at a time, one person at a time.

This means paying the iron price. 

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